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If in doubt...what?
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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I would like to here some stories about your experiences that you believe demonstrate your best riding skill. I added real or imagined in the title because the story I will share with you only gave the appearance of superior riding skills.

Oh, and it is demonstration of "Best Riding Skill", NOT "Best Judgement".

So this is mine:

Setting is late last century. A dark Sunday night just before midnight. I am weary after a long week of classes and working at the Student Infirmary on the UF campus. I have early classes and am ready to already be in bed. I am riding a '75 Norton 850 Commando home from late shift in Student Records at the Infirmary to on campus married housing at University Village. I am stuck behind a late model Pontiac Le Mans as we curve around Lake Alice. I have to make a right just ahead and am praying this poky guy will go straight. He doesn't. He takes the same right. So, being impatient and the road now being straight I start around him as he is still making the turn. Also, being tired and generally lazy I decide there is no need to exert myself to the extent necessary to down shift. So I am lugging the engine something terrible as I slowly begin to gain speed. ( Bop....Bop...bop...) He sees right away I am being rash and takes offense I presume. Anyway when I get to his rear quarter panel I see a burst of exhaust come boiling out of his tail pipe and I erroneously believe know a few things right away, 1) it's on, 2) My Norton can take him on acceleration if not maybe top speed, and 3) here erroneously , the engine is starting to tighten up a bit, still no need to down shift. Well I should have down shifted. Being in too high a gear turned it into a race. There is a slight rise in the road ahead and I must turn left just over the rise. BUT, I'm not backing off until I nose past him. By the time we make the top of the hill the high gear is finally correct and we are truly moving out. Almost in front...almost.. bit more...THERE Moving past. THERE"S MY TURN! The remainder of this story occurs in a matter of a couple of seconds but seemed to occur in slow motion. I get onto the rear break heavy..too heavy and lock up the rear end. I have max possible front brake applied. The rear end starts to come around the to the right and I start to look like I'm about to slide into third base. I am slowing but I am not slowing down nearly quickly enough and I am sliding sideways straight for the corner. I first see the brick Maguire Village Sign knowing that is where I will be in just a moment, I then see the concrete curb forming the corner and realize that is where the bike and I will part ways, and then to top it off I see gravel and think "Oh, of course, gravel." Knowing I'm not going to make it I figure as the scripture says, "if you lack faith, act as if you have faith, and faith will be given to you" or something close to that anyway. So I thought if one knew what one were doing and one were going to make this turn what would one do? I down shifted two gears, pop the clutch and hit the gas. The bike immediately up righted, the front end got light if not got air, and we together sling shotted straight down the center of the correct lane for the left turn. In a flash we were at the turn into the apartment complex which was negotiated like a slalom racer. The guy in the car had to be impressed. I would have been impressed if I had actually known what I was doing. I was picking seat out of my a$$ for a week.

I could put a bunch of words here acknowledging all the poor judgment, but, nah.
 

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Biker
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Sounds like a fine evening for biking! I gotta tell ya Sphincter, I think you could have been a great guy for Sports radio,
giving the play-by play moves of everyone in the game. good story ! Do we have another Howard Cosell here?
 

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If in doubt...what?
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105 Posts
Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Thanks but I'm ashamed to say screwed the story up. I was on a '74 Norton not a '75. For you Norton aficionado's out there you know that's a big screw up. '74 was the last year of the right side shifter and I think the last year without electric start.

Thank you very much for the compliment, but i'd rather here your story. You go tot have one.
 

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Retired twice: Navy and as a govt contractor
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Well now we know how you got your user name ;)
 

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Retired twice: Navy and as a govt contractor
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15,670 Posts
Back in the 80's I was ridding home from Charleston. I took my exit like I always do, downshift to 4th, 70+ mph and lean hard into the uphill 270 degree turn. My right sole is dragging on the ground so I know I am close to dragging hard parts when I spot the sand. Sand all the way through the turn. Bike starts sliding towards the curb on the outside edge of the corner. Never even gave it any though down to 2nd gear all most at redline and I steer into the slide. I come off the ramp on to a 35 MPH road and have to swerve out to avoid the sand truck stopped in the road explaining to the nice policeman why he dumped all his sand in the road. He flagged me down and I managed to slow down a few hundred feet past him. I turned around and came back. He said that he had heard me (loud pipes save lives ?) lose traction and down shift but was totally surprised when I came flying out of the corner still on my wheels. He thought for sure he was going to have to call a meat wagon to pry me out of the trees.

I don't think I ever took that ramp over the speed limit ever again.
 

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Retired twice: Navy and as a govt contractor
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You had to hold on to that seat somehow, I know I did!
 

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If in doubt...what?
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105 Posts
Discussion Starter · #9 ·
I had a similar only different exit ramp experience. I was on a '94 FLHR headed for Dayton Ohio in late march by way of a friends place in Cincinnati. I spent the night about 60 miles south of Cincinnati and awoke to Freezing rain, flurries,and generally crappy bike weather. I'll skip the "bike won't start part" and go straight to the getting off the interstate part. Roads were clear and clean and I had pretty good speed. Good speed for going straight anyway. I came to my exit and start to wind off trying to bleed speed and what do I find? Yippee!! its a decreasing radius exit ramp. and patchy ice to boot. It turned out to be a none event but all I could see was the guard rail that was damaged to the point of being a cheese grater.
 

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Retired twice: Navy and as a govt contractor
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"down to 2nd gear all most at redline and I steer into the slide"

Now that's a story! Are you saying you drifted the ramp? that's incredible.
I dirt tracked it foot out and all! I had done a lot of off road riding in my misspent youth.
 
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Back in the 70's, I had a Honda 750 k model. The 70's Honda's had an oil bag like the Harley's do with external oil lines. At the time, I owned two print shops, one in Victorville and one in Barstow, Calif. I was on my way to Barstow. I hit the off ramp at about 70, down shifted, braked, and down shifted again setting up for a U type off ramp. The posted speed limit was 35 mph. I was doing about 55. No big deal as I've done it many times.

Except I had never done it with a broken oil line that was spewing oil all over my rear tire. Things got real interesting real fast. The back end kicked out, foot pegs were scraping, and I noticed my knee was higher than my head! I had traction on the front tire, so I knew that if I let off I would high side. All I could do was feather the throttle, keep things as they were and ride it out. I was VERY close to the edge of losing it. The turn finally straightened out, and I was able to bring it under control and stop at the stop sign.

I really think the only thing that saved my ass that day was the time I spent in the dirt with my Bultaco Pursang. Kicking the back end out in the dirt is a given. Doing it on the street, is an adventure.
 
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